||For the Instructor
Building a web site as a learning experience involves three cognitive skills that may be new to students. First, they have to consider multiple relationships between pieces of information in order to create a web. Second, they have to consider how a general audience, as opposed to a content expert, will respond to their information. Third, they have to consider how to use multiple media to inform their viewer.
For the instructor, the web offers opportunities in motivation. First, the web is still a curiosity to many students. Second, the open nature of the web lends well to peer evaluations which take advantage of another intrinsic motivator, social approval.1
The following is a brief discussion of educational objectives using Bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain as a basic outline.2 Depending upon the learning objectives of the assignment, the students can engage in research for knowledge; they can write summaries, or interpretations, of their information for introductory pages; they can apply basic rules of design; they can analyze the relationship between individuals, events, places, ideas, etc., and create hyperlinks to reflect the connections; they can synthesize the materials they have found to build their site; and finally they can evaluate their own work as well as the work of their peers according to criteria determined by the instructor.
In the research phase of the assignment, a body of knowledge is accumulated. The student gathers the data for the web of context. While collecting the data, a student might ask questions like who, what, where, when, how, and why. He or she may find definitions, formulate explanations, and clarify certain data that need additional description. It also is important at this point for the student to know the broader generalizations and classifications of his or her subject.
When the student has accumulated an acceptable body of data from which to build the site, he or she should write summaries of the content for use on the upper level, or introductory, web pages. In addition, the student should interpret the information in order to identify major themes and details.
During the interpretation process, the student also needs to consider associations, connections, and relationships within the information. He or she needs to determine which of the relationships are appropriate for his or her thesis in order to use them to form their link structure.
After considering themes, writing summaries, and identifying relationships, the student is ready to synthesize the information, or in other words to piece it back together into an original (his or her own) site structure. They need to be able to chunk the information into manageable pieces and connect those pieces together into logical hyperlink paths.
After developing a site outline, the student is ready to apply the rules for web page design and site creation to their project.
Finally, when the pages and
links of the site are completed at the rough draft stage, the students
need to reevaluate their site's organization, link structure, and summaries
according to writing and design criteria like those presented in this web